I have dabbled with it. Last year I made a whole collection for my RMIT design class based around the concept. Some people have made whole brands using it. There are people who have persisted and are amazing at it. Holly McQuillan for one. Julia Lumsden for another.
These fantastic minds create patterns that look like this:
Pretty amazing, huh?
Usually during production 15-30% of the fabric gets thrown away after the patterns are cut out of them.
That’s a lot of waste.
The zero waste method has… well, none.
So I thought about this and came up with a few designs based on squares for class. A singlet with frilled sleeves, a couple of skirts and capes.
Being the overachiever I am, I not only designed these, but also decided to create them. (It was a drawing class and there was no sewing supposed to be involved)
I did draw them in my completely non-fashion-drawing style:
And then I made them and ended up photographing one of the dresses later.
The material underneath the raglan sleeve has been folded into the pockets which makes them sit out. The inner pocket is a rectangle of a contrast fabric.
I made a black version as well:
The problem I found with my “zero waste” method is that for the above dress I needed 2m of fabric.
For a similar dress using the traditional method, even though it wastes fabric in the cutting phase, I only needed 1.6m.
I am sure that the more sophisticated designers have worked their way around this issue.
I, instead, have decided to go about the waste issue in a different way.
What is it?
More in this later…